Bike boost

The next stage of the Waitangi Mountain Bike Park has been given a $300,000 boost by the Lottery Community Facilities Fund. The grant, which was announced this week, will be spent on stage two of the trail hub carpark off Bayly Rd, just past Waitangi Golf Course, including a pump track, toilets, park office, bike rental, storage and deli-style cafe. The community facilities fund committee said the funding request "aligned with Lottery Grants Board outcomes and the committee's priorities and funding criteria". The grant also recognised fundraising already achieved and outstanding community support for the project. Bike Park founder Tiffany Holland said the grant was a credit to "fundraising legends" Roger Dold and Chris Williams. Work will start in the new year, along with the construction of new trails in Zone 5.

Funds for Frankie
An appeal for a Whangarei toddler diagnosed with leukemia has raised more than $32,000. A Givealittle page was started on Monday by a family friend for 3-year-old Frankie. As of yesterday afternoon the page had raised $32,582. Frankie and her family live in Whangarei, but she is receiving treatment in Auckland.
"Her mum and dad are both self-employed and so we want to raise funds to relieve any pressure on them to work during this time, so that they can be where they need to be, in Auckland with their baby girl," the family friend said. The money will be used to pay the mortgage and any other household bills and to cover travel costs while Frankie's parents are out of town and unable to work. To donate go to https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/frankie-miller

Puketi's forest walk
The Puketi Forest Trust will once again host its annual Kauri Challenge on January 27, giving the public an opportunity to enjoy areas of Puketi Forest that are not easily accessible, and to experience a thriving ecosystem. "This is one of the greatest one-day walks in Northland," a spokesman said. The cost for the day, $50-$70, included sponsorship of one hectare for a year, a sausage sizzle at the Forest Pools, return transport to the start and a map and information on points of interest along the route.
Entry forms for the walk, and further information, is available at www.puketi.org.nz.

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Calling all candidates
Nominations close next Friday for the Far North District Council Bay of Islands-Whangaroa Ward by-election. As of yesterday two nominations had been received by the council. Those wishing to stand have until 12 noon on December 22 to lodge their nomination papers. To be eligible, a candidate must be enrolled as a parliamentary elector and be a New Zealand citizen. Nomination papers are available from Far North District Council's Kerikeri Service Centre, Kerikeri Road, Kerikeri; by accessing www.fndc.govt.nz or by phoning 0800 922 822. Voting papers will be mailed to Bay of Islands-Whangaroa Ward electors from January 26, for return by 12 noon on February 17. Preliminary results will be available that afternoon. For more information please contact: the Electoral Officer, telephone 0800 922 822.

ACC fraud denied
A Northland physiotherapist accused of fraudulently claiming more than $138,000 in ACC payments will reappear in the Whangarei District Court next week. Skye Renes, 37, has pleaded not guilty in the Whangarei District Court to 17 charges of obtaining by deception and a further six charges of using a document for pecuniary advantage. The alleged offences were committed between May 2011 and January 2016. She will reappear on Wednesday.

Fancy your (Jordan) luck?
Last chance to win: The Northern Advocate has a double pass to give away to a show on the Elemeno P/Jordan Luck Band tour and The Feelers/The Eastern tour. Email baynews@ northernadvocate.co.nz with your full contact details by 12am tonight and tell us which show you want to attend. The choice of venues for the gigs are: Mangawhai Tavern (December 27), Russell's Duke Tavern (December 28), Opononi Hotel (December 29), and Marsden Cove Marina on December 30 for Elemeno P/Jordan Luck; or Russell (January 4) or Mangawhai (January 5) for The Feelers/The Eastern.